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Clear Air Turbulence

All my life I looked up at the night sky, saw the glow of lights on the night-side of the moon, the tracks of shuttles and ships, the glitter of habitats and stations far above the clear Kansas skies. But the Spacers don't have much need for the Earthers anymore. Our half-barbarous squabbling billions have lost so much since the wars. We lack the skills, and most of us lack the drive, to leave the cradle.

You'd think with a Masters in Nuclear Engineering from the most prestigious Distributed University on Earth, I could have gotten a decent off-world job. Well, there is a niche for Earthers - the Belters hate high-gravity duty - and for that they mean anything more than a tenth of a gee or so. Finally, I got a Venusian subcontractor to place me on a long-term hitch with a conglomerate that runs the gas refiners on Saturn. It's over nine tenths of a gee, and the sky is sort of blue, so it's almost like home. Until you step out into the frozen sky, feeling the buffeting winds trying to tear you from the platform and see the rings and moons above you.

I know I'm not in Kansas anymore.

-- Aaron Macklin, Maintenance Tech Second Class, Kronos 17 Platform.
 

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